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Navigating Ecuadorian Cultural Waters: A Guide to Etiquette and Customs for Expats

The EcuaAssist Team







Setting sail on an uncharted journey in a new country can be daunting, but learning to navigate through and embrace new customs can make a world of a difference. In this guide, we take a closer look at the maze of Ecuadorian culture, providing expats the insight they need to successfully traverse these new social waters with grace and charm.


The Warm Embrace of Greetings:


In Ecuador, a greeting is not just a greeting. A firm hug, or a “beso” (a light kiss on the cheek) is the customary hello. This may seem a bit intrusive to expats, but it is very much a reflection of the close-knit, friendly nature of the people in Ecuador.


Time, the Elastic Concept:


A timeline is simply that; a line. In Ecuador, being punctual and valuing time is key, but this value exists in a much more relaxed atmosphere. Meetings will begin a little after they are scheduled, and a social gathering can extend well into the small hours of the night. Embracing the fluid concept of time is a window into the rhythm of life in the country.


Culinary Adventure:


Ecuadorian cuisine is quite the varied one, and partaking in local dining customs is a journey in itself. You simply cannot visit Ecuador and not try the local take on ceviche, a dish of fresh seafood, marinated in citrus juices. Furthermore, sharing is a key part of an Ecuadorian meal and is rich way to showcase the communal spirit of dining.


Festivals, A Symphony of Colors:


The people of Ecuador are very passionate about their fiestas; each one a vivid tapestry of its history, culture, and spirituality. Inti Raymi, of the Festival of the Sun, for example, is a colorful homage of indigenous roots. It is very much a visual feast and a key part of integrating yourself into the beating heart of Ecuadorian identity.


Hierarchical Respect and Communication:


A deep reverence for hierarchical respect exists within Ecuadorian culture, particularly in professional settings. One is expected to demonstrate how much they honor someone of higher social standing or older age. Aside from this, communication is quite indirect and the ability to “read between the lines” is a skill you will find invaluable. Understanding the nuances of the aforementioned in both communication and hierarchical respect will take you well towards a successful journey through the exuberant, yet refined, interpersonal interactions in Ecuador.


The Importance of Familial Ties:


Above all else, Ecuador is very much a family-oriented culture. Strong familial ties are a highly prized aspect of the culture. So close are many of these family bonds, that you will have large extended families living all in a close proximity and involved in each other’s lives. It is the expat who can see and appreciate this aspect of the culture, who will most easily be able to make this social fabric their own.


Visiting Ecuador is much more than just a change of scenery. It is a change in culture. The warmth of greetings, the flavor of the cuisine, and the color of the tapestry of multihued festivals are integral parts of putting together a comprehensive picture of the integration of Ecuadorian society. By understanding these customs and etiquette, the expat on their journey will not only be able to finesse each and every social interaction but forge lasting connections in this land of enchantment.



If you have any questions about living in wonderful Ecuador, make an appointment FREE OF CHARGE.

EcuaAssist #1 Expats Immigration Law Firm in Ecuador





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